Starbucks announced late Sunday it will pay for thousands of its workers to take courses through Arizona State University to complete their bachelor's degree.
The Starbucks College Achievement plan will let full- and part-time workers choose from 40 undergraduate degree programs at ASU that will be delivered online. 135,000 employees are eligible.
"There's no doubt the inequality within the country has created a situation where many many Americans are being left behind," CEO Howard Schultz says in a video produced to announce the program . "The question I think for all of us is, 'Should we accept that, or should we try to do something about it?'"
"We can't wait for Washington," he adds.
Workers admitted as a junior or senior will earn full tuition reimbursement. Freshmen and sophomores will receive a partial scholarship and need-based financial aid. Students will have no commitment to remain at Starbucks past graduation.
Arizona state's online courses are valued at $10,000 a year.
The program replaces a more scaled-down reimbursement program that only gave workers up to $1,000 a year for tuition.
Schultz will hold a webcast to discuss the plan in-depth Monday at 10:45 a.m. Schultz himself attended Northern Michigan University on a football scholarship.
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